Why I Say, “It’s Over For Now.”

Hi. Not the article I planned to write today. Someone on Twitter asked if I was done with my conspiracy theories. Someone also asked why I say we’re not done yet when it comes to Wizards of the Coast. Because WotC isn’t done with us. Sure, we won the OGL battle, but look what’s not being discussed in the open.

Wizards of the Coast didn’t just give up.

I’m trying not to be a Debbie Downer about this whole D&D Open Game License debate. In fact, I’ve been doing my best not to say anything that might jinx it. Family, I’m sorry. I’m still staring at the chalkboard because something just doesn’t quite add up about this whole affair.

Yes, we should cherish this as a victory for #OpenDnD and I am truly happy that System Reference Document 5.1 is now under Creative Commons License. I am filled with joy that we can continue on with OGL 1.0a in perpetuity, creating “Old School” Dungeons & Dragons content for 3.5 and 5E. It’s great. Truly, I’m celebrating it as a big win for us- i.e. the fans and content creators.

What’s a group of weasels called?

WotC? Maybe it’s Hasbro? The real answer is, “boogle” or more importantly, a “sneak.” As in, they’re sneaky.

I find it a bit tough to believe that anyone stupid or cunning enough to turn the entire TTRPG industry on its ear for most of January would just roll over and give up,. It’s too easy. Yes, they were under significant pressure with the cancellation of D&D Beyond subscriptions. Yeah, the fans were super irritated with WotC. Supposedly WotC reacted to feedback from the community.

I have serious trust issues with large corporations. Truthfully, having lived through the 1980s and being fired by one, I just can’t bring myself to ever trust a corporation again. I’m aware of what it sounds like. I can’t believe or trust anything WotC says until certain executives are gone. Even then, I’ll always have doubts.

Huzzah! The OSR is saved. Case closed. Right?

I’m taking some grief on Twitter because I have a lot of conspiracy theories surrounding WotC and the Great OGL Debacle of 2023. Remember, I’m only crazy until I’m correct. The term “conspiracy” was cooked up by a certain government department that wanted it to have a negative connotation.

Sure, we can theoretically keep making Old School Renaissance/Revival/Regrowth/Re-whatever until Hell itself freezes over. And that’s great. People might not realize it yet, but 5E pretty much became part of the OSR the day One D&D was announced. (If you listen closely, you can hear the old fartz starting to panic at that notion.) WotC’s endgame was never about prior editions. They’ve already made it clear.

Yes, mission accomplished. We can keep making older edition stuff forever under OGL 1.0a and SRD 5.1 CC-BY-4.0. That’s lovely. WotC theoretically threw us a bone. Reasons why will likely remain a mystery.

Remember, WotC “doesn’t see editions any more.”

Yeah. Because they want One D&D to be the only game we’ll ever play as far as they’re concerned. (*My opinion.) The heck with all those older editions. One D&D with its big, gnarly, fancy-shmancy digital platform is where it’s at now don’t cha know?

The reasons WotC gave in look spontaneous. Sure, maybe it’s the fans. Maybe it was Hasbro. Maybe it was all those cancelled DDB subs. OR maybe they’ve got another plan. There are a LOT of things WotC has not addressed yet.

I’ll play angel’s advocate for a minute. Hasbro was under a lot of pressure to deal with WotC. Hasbro stocks took a dip. Media attention was on the OGL for a minute. The new D&D movie, Honor Among Thieves is coming out. Critical Role was getting some attention from Amazon. Cynthia Williams and Chris Cao are still pulling the strings.

Oh look. Smoke & Mirrors.

WotC gave us the old pen and paper D&D on a platter. Sure, make all the OGL stuff we want. BUT- What if, just what if, that was never their endgame? They want One D&D to be the only Virtual TableTop in the industry. They want One D&D to be a lifestyle brand. D&D players are their cash cow.

What if they aren’t worried about the OGL because they have ways around it? Sure, make all the OGL stuff we want. Plaster “5E” on everything. What if Wizards of the Coast owns, or is planning to own OneBookShelf and Roll 20? What if WotC went out of their way to make sure the new D&D Beyond website was pretty much the only way to purchase old D&D pdfs?

Rumor has it that Chris Cao, one of the guys pulling the strings at WotC, doesn’t even see physical books as a concern going forward. He thinks they’re just nostalgia. Merely collector’s items. Chris Cao hasn’t even played D&D as far as we know. He thinks it’s like a mobile app or a computer game. (*according to WotC employees.)

What if WotC is planning to squeeze out Friendly Local Game Stores, Amazon, and independent book dealers? WotC wants to make it so all roads lead back to their new digital platform. Think about what it might do to the TTRPG industry if Hasbro or WotC has a veritable monopoly on electronic and physical book distribution.

Itch.io and Paizo.com are going to get more traffic. Great. All of our indie games and content that used to be on DriveThruRPG.com and DMsGuild.com might have to go through WotC or a website owned by Hasbro. More money in the corporation’s pockets. We can create all the content we want, but if we want to sell it, we’d have to either do it piecemeal all over the internet or go through WotC.

Just what if all those Hasbro layoffs were used to free up some capital available for the purchase on OneBookshelf? Sounds kinda far out. Then again, if Linda Codega hadn’t broken the story about OGL 1.1, none of us would believe the reality WotC would have had us living in back in early January. Put nothing past WotC at this point.

It’s all just my opinion, speculation, and conjecture.

Make what you will of it. I still think we’re getting played by Wizards of the Coast. I think Williams and Cao are smarter than we give them credit for. I think Chris Cocks at Hasbro is smarter than we give him credit for.

I hope I’m wrong about all of this. We almost witnessed the collapse of our beloved hobby industry. We could still be fighting just to keep the OGL alive. I’m just thinking of the journey from the travesty that was OGL 1.1 to where we are now. How is WotC going to recover?

Sure, maybe D&D Beyond gets a few subscribers back. According to the rumors, Chris Cao doesn’t even like DDB. The new Unreal Engine powered VTT and accompanying website are supposed to replace it anyway. New platform, new subscriptions. D&D Beyond will soon be a decaying relic.

Sure, maybe they sell a few more movie tickets to Honor Among Thieves. Maybe Hasbro saves face on with Paramount. I mean, I’m not going, but maybe somebody will.

Sure, maybe WotC saved face with the fans. They might even sell some of those “collector’s books” they’re putting out. And maybe DMsGuild continues to sell those pesky pdfs to keep the cattle, err…fans happy as far as the stockholders are concerned. Maybe Hasbro stocks will stabilize next quarter.

Darn straight I don’t trust WotC. We all need to remain vigilant. I’m telling you, family, it ain’t over yet. Sure, #OpenDnD won the day. Hallelujah. But we ain’t done with WotC’s shenanigans.

Thanks for stopping by and humoring me with all of my crazy ideas. I promise we really are going to get back to gaming. The dust will settle eventually and we can have some fun. I appreciate you.

I Feel Sorry for Renegade Studios.

I WAS a huge fan of Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPG before big brother Hasbro ruined the TTRPG industry for many of us by causing the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License debacle. I can’t support anything owned by Hasbro any more. Wizards of the Coast can’t be trusted right now. Hasbro can’t be trusted right now. @renegadestudios falls under the Hasbro umbrella. Sorry, family.

The fallout of the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License disaster will probably affect it’s Hasbro cousin.

Renegade Studios makes RPGs and Board Games for a myriad of settings. They’re the current producers of Vampire, Hunter, and other World of Darkness properties. They make board games for Power Rangers, GI Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, and more. I used to be a huge fan of some of the RPGs listed.

Power Rangers RPG was my jam this time last year. I loved running solo and small group RPG adventures in the Power Rangers Lightning Force campaign I was building. I’d even go back to it if I weren’t conscientious of the fact that Renegade is owned by Hasbro. The hobby and game industry, in which I participate is already being dominated by this huge corporation. Why do they want life to be hard on their potential customers?

It sucks that Renegade, who were off to such a great start, have to suffer because of their bigger cousin.

Wizards of the Coast is doing the best they can to appease Hasbro. I get it. All these little subsidiary companies have to earn their keep or be absorbed back into the larger corporation. Or worse- shut down completely. We went over three decades without Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPGs. (Official ones, anyway.) Their losses are going to be mourned.

Vampire? Hunter? Now we’re into what used to be big names in the TTRPG industry. I could kind of see World of Darkness surviving via the Storyteller’s Vault courtesy of OneBookShelf. But new official material would probably go away unless Hasbro got the bright idea to do something with the Intellectual Property.

Hasbro is being boycotted right now. I would even go so far as to say canceled by outraged Dungeons & Dragons fans. The OGL 1.1 scandal sent massive shockwaves through the TTPRG industry. The message is clear: We, the fans, can no longer trust Wizards of the Coast or parent corporation, Hasbro.

The people at Renegade have to be feeling the pain, too.

If you’ve been in the roleplaying game space long enough, you get to know people. You meet fans, make friends, even lifelong companions playing games. Friendly Local Game Stores, conventions, friends from random pickup games online can be spread out all over the place. It seems like most of us know someone that works for a game company from social media, or wherever.

The people that make up Renegade Studios are like that, too. Many of them are not new to the industry. Very likely they know some Wizards of the Coast employees and Third Party Content Creators as well. Many of these creators are probably in contact with one another. I’m guessing all of these folx, WotC employees included, probably know freelancers in the industry, too.

Freelancers and small time TTRPG content producers are probably getting hit the worst by this OGL flap. Until a new OGL is, umm, ratified? Approved? Rammed down our throats by WotC if I had to guess. Until there is an official new OGL pick-a-number, a very large number of game companies hang in the balance.

I’ll say it again. Use your own discernment over who to support in the industry.

My personal preference is to let Hasbro and both of their TTRPG siblings twist in the wind. I won’t spend a dime with them until things change dramatically. We might be talking about 7th Ed D&D before I’ll buy another WotC product. My kids will all be getting board games and TTRPGs from every company that’s not associated with Hasbro in 2023. (I was looking forward to the relaunch of Axis & Allies from Renegade. Oh fcking well.)

I think the financial crunch Hasbro was already finding itself in at the end of last year was already hurting Renegade. Personally, if I had Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPGs? Y’all would be sick of hearing about sourcebooks and adventures for all three. I mean an egregious number of sourcebooks. I’d be begging Hasbro to let me put WotC to shame right now.

But, alas there are no Movie Universe Sourcebooks, vehicle guides, adversary sourcebooks, season sourcebooks, adventures like crazy or even a fan content policy. The GI Joe and Transformers RPG could have the crossover sourcebook from Hell if they wanted to. Renegade could be doing crossovers the fans have wanted to see for years, and they’re dribbling out little board game releases and fairly inconsequential adventure books for all these Hasbro licensed properties. Tis sad. The OGL debacle and heat from Hasbro is not helping at all.

I am sincerely hoping things turn around for Renegade in the coming year.

I would love to go back to writing Power Rangers stuff for FREE. I had some GI Joe adventures in the outline stages for this year. I so want an excuse to run Transformers with my kids. None of this will happen until the OGL disaster gets straightened out. Hasbro can my and themselves while they’re at it. I’m ing mad!

Thanks for stopping by. Keep fighting the good fight. Please keep the OGL battle fresh in everyone’s minds.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBeGone
#StoptheSub
#DnDONE emphasis on “DONE!”
#BoycottHasbro
#BoycottWotC

Why the TTRPG Community is Stable.

These lovely folx from YouTube were acting on good faith. Someone got it wrong at WotC. Please be kind to @DnD_Shorts, @nerdimmersion, and especially @itsginnydi It breaks my heart to see Ginny Di so upset. It’s been a very tough couple of weeks for her. It’s not their fault someone fed them all a pile of BS.

We hit a few bumps in the road last week, but we’re still strong together.

Strength comes through perseverance in the face of adversity. We’ve had a tumultuous week in the TableTop RolePlaying Game community. Like any other large group of people, we still have our squabbles. It happens.

The Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License 1.2 draft dropped along with an accompanying survey. Prior to that, we had a lot of rumors and accusations around false leaks. It’s been rough. We’re all doing the best we can. We’re not falling apart at the seams. We’re #TTRPGFamily !

PLEASE BE KIND TO WIZARDS of the COAST STAFF AND CREATORS!

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I can’t emphasize this enough. Please be kind to the hard-working people at Wizards of the Coast. Many of them have families to feed. Many of them are (probably) still big Dungeons & Dragons fans. The executives are making a lot of sketchy decisions right now in relation to OGL 1.0a, the original open license.

BUT THE OGL DEBACLE IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE AVERAGE EMPLOYEE!

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk on Twitter and elsewhere encouraging harassment, doxxing, abuse, and even violence against Wizards of the Coast Staff. I am begging everyone- PLEASE BE KIND TO WotC EMPLOYEES! (*Yes, I’m yelling.) Please treat everyone at WotC the way you would want to be treated at your job. No one wants to be threatened with violence and harassment.

Kindness is key right now if we’re going to get our points across to the big, gnarly corporation that is Wizards of the Coast and parent company, Hasbro. I make no bones about the fact that I have no love for big, faceless, unfeeling corporate entities such as Hasbro. However, I do not hold it against regular people like you and me just trying to earn a living and take care of themselves/loved ones.

Shady crap going on behind closed doors at WotC.

If we’re going to blame anyone, let’s talk about the head honchos at WotC. Let’s talk about the higher-ups at Hasbro that are driving the “big” decisions. They, as most big scummy corporations, are really only motivated by one thing- making more money. They don’t necessarily give a rip how they make more money as long as it is rolling in.

The OGL 1.1, the agreement which started a virtual firestorm in the TTRPG community when leaked, was intended to make WotC more money and allow them to dominate the entire industry. It’s still obvious that WotC wants to eliminate any significant competition within the TTRPG industry. They want the monopoly, and they don’t care how they get it.

The community outrage over the Open Game License prompted the #DnDBeGone movement along with #StoptheSub . Fans united in the cancellation of D&D Beyond subscriptions. WotC had to stop and pay attention. It is still unknown whether or not we derailed their evil plan or fell right into it.

But, hey- I’m just a guy with a blog. What do I know? I have a lot of crazy theories. Some of them might even turn out to be correct.

There’s more than this OGL business in the works at WotC. Mark my words, we have not seen all they have planned for the game or the community. They want a lifestyle brand. They want D&D in every home on Earth if they could get it there. The D&D game is the least of their concerns. I think Hasbro wants D&D to be synonymous with the fantasy genre. They’re going to keep plotting and scheming.

Courtesy of They Live.

Surveys, lies, and well-intentioned YouTubers.

I will say it again. The TTRPG community, or as I like to say, the #ttrpgfamily is NOT fractured. We’re not falling apart regardless of what anyone says. Sure, we have our internal disagreements, same as any family or community. But let’s stay focused. We want a solid OGL. We want to keep playing D&D and selling our own cool content to go with it.

@DnD_Shorts @itsginnydi and @nerdimmersion reported and corroborated a leak from WotC earlier in the week that said the One D&D survey comments are never read or considered. The YouTubers took a lot of heat for it when notable former WotC employees called them out. It later turned out that the leak was partially true, but the damage had already been done.

See, it turns out that the quantitative survey results are used as a barometer for supposed One D&D development. In the case of One D&D, surveys are a Public Relations tool to pacify fans by making them think they’re contributing to the development of the game and little else. This tactic has not changed since PR was invented. It’s a smokescreen.

Regardless of the survey results, whether or not they are read, the leak happened. The leak about the $30/month subscriptions and AI Dungeon Masters happened. My point here is: The information was passed on to these YouTubers from what was believed to be reputable sources.

These lovely folx from YouTube were acting on good faith. Someone got it wrong at WotC. Please be kind to @DnD_Shorts, @nerdimmersion, and especially @itsginnydi It breaks my heart to see Ginny Di so upset. It’s been a very tough couple of weeks for her. It’s not their fault someone fed them all a pile of BS.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Here’s where my caffeine-fueled, conspiracy-oriented mind takes over.

See, WotC and specifically whatever PR people are running the show, know the fans are highly reactive right now with the OGL hanging in the balance. We’re willing to take our information from anywhere we can get it, right? This is where the true masterminds come in.

See, WotC is currently spinning half-truths, misinformation, lies, and outright rubbish through various trustworthy sources. That way when we hear something “official” from WotC, they look credible because look at all the hogwash those “darn dirty YouTubers” were spouting. Even though those YouTubers are basically unwitting pawns in a larger chess game.

Please be aware there are shills out there in the community. There are the usual D&D cheerleaders who are WotC sympathizers around. There are plenty of people getting leaked information from inside the closed doors at WotC who are wittingly or unwittingly part of the plan. Remember, credible lies are often seeded with nuggets of truth.

Hasbro/WotC’s ultimate goal here is to get the community to mistrust one another and make themselves look good. Don’t fall for it. Stay together. Be kind to one another. Solidarity has the power to overcome a lot of corporate shenanigans.

I’m confident enough that I can publish anything I want on this blog and Wizards of the Coast will never read it. Ha ha ha. However, if Cynthia Williams invites me to Seattle, offers me a big old stack of money, and sits down to tea with me, we’ll talk. LOL! (*Ain’t holding my breath.)

The bloody painful bottom line.

WotC very likely has One D&D ready to roll out. The OGL is going to keep coming up until they push it through the way the execs want it. Sorry to be all gloom and doom, but that’s how I see it. I don’t believe the suits actually care what we think, they just want to vacuum money from our wallets.

Part of the “lifestyle brand” equation means the actual game D&D is a small part of the formula. Since the “regular people” in WotC’s demographics associate roleplaying with computer games, there’s an attempt being made to turn D&D into a computer game. Hence Unreal Engine Virtual TableTop. By the time all is said and done, there might not be a D&D TTRPG so much as another video game like Fortnite.

Let me break it down a different way to see if it makes sense:

  • Hasbro is pushing WotC to make more and more money.
  • D&D is their potential cash cow. (I’m still puzzled why not Magic: the Gathering, but that’s another article.)
  • Hasbro especially and WotC more generally don’t see a TTRPG community. They see a large group of D&D consumers.
  • Someone at Hasbro/WotC cooked up this notion of making D&D a “lifestyle brand” much like Fortnite or Harley Davidson.
  • What little competition D&D has would need to more or less conform to their corporate standard demographics and look like D&D. Make all TTRPGs into D&D. That way regular consumers won’t be confused.
    • D&D’s competition in the digital or VTT space must be conquered or conform.
    • D&D’s competition in the tabletop space needs to be squashed, silenced, or absorbed so all TTRPGs are D&D.
    • The OGL is a tool to accomplish the previous two goals.
    • Other obstacles must be overcome in 2023 to accomplish the overall goal. (I’ll cover those elsewhere. I think I might know what they’re planning.)
    • Eventually D&D is more or less crammed down our throats on TV, in the movies, in the console/computer game markets, merch everywhere, and oh, yeah the RPG which now looks exactly like a video game that is more relatable to consumers aged 10-60 that have tons of available, disposable income.

Hasbro/WotC literally sees the fans as obstacles between them and their money. I can honestly believe that. Cosplayers, YouTubers, other VTTs, Actual Play streamers, PDF sellers, Patreon and Kickstarter are either inconveniences or easily subverted tools.

People actually playing the TTRPG? They’ll jump on the VTT like all other consumers. They barely even acknowledged our presence until the OGL debacle went down. There are bound to be snags in any plan. They have Public Relations people to handle minor inconveniences to the overall plan.

Conclusion.

The fans- Players, Dungeon Masters, onlookers, and others need to keep the faith. We keep fighting the good fight. We keep running games and creating Actual Play live streams and podcasts. We keep playing editions that aren’t One D&D. We keep running TTRPGs that aren’t D&D.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Regardless of what else happens in court. Regardless of how big WotC’s market share gets. No matter how hard Hasbro tries to wring money out of our pockets- WE STICK TOGETHER like a #ttrpgfamily .

Be kind, understanding, and supportive of one another. Support older editions of D&D and other TTRPGs. Please show lots of love for Third Party Producers of OGL content. Keep speaking out against WotC and what they’re doing- PEACEFULLY. Show lots of love for our YouTubers. Keep on gaming!

#OpenDnD
#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#DnDONE Emphasis on “DONE.”
#ORCLicense

Reaction to Wizards of the Coast 1/18.

As far as surveys go, I think it’s a really poor attempt to pacify the masses. They want us, the #ttrpgcommunity to honestly believe our opinions matter. See, public relations people do this sort of thing when there are angry keyboard warriors gunning for them. Now you theoretically have a say, a vote, or an outlet for your opinion. The reality of it is not as rosy.

I dunno about you guys, but I’m still not impressed.

For those late to this party, we’re talking about the Wizards of the Coast Open Game License for the Dungeons & Dragons game. This is their latest attempt to placate the community. Personally, I’m not convinced of the sincerity or veracity of anything coming out of Wizards of the Coast D&D department.

Below is the post from D&D Executive Producer, Kyle Brink:




Let me stop here for just a minute. Sorry, Mr Brink, but your apology rings a little hollow for all the people who may have become unemployed because of your corporate nonsense. Yeah, ya got it wrong. Maybe if this had been your corporation’s first attempt at an apology, we’d be more receptive.

It’s nice that WotC propped up a guy who has actually played the game as far as we know. It’s a real mystery as to how he can stand their plans for One D&D? How are you an executive and a D&D fan if you’re willing to subject us to $30/month? Are you nuts?

You were silent for an entire week while the TTRPG industry burned trying to figure out how to go forward. I’m really curious what your core values and McCorporate culture really looks like on the inside. I have a feeling it’s something to the effect of “Crush anything we can’t absorb or scare off.”

Open conversation?!? Like when employees at WotC are getting fired for voicing honest opinions that you asked for? Where’s the open conversation there?

What are you going to do when the feedback doesn’t blow smoke up WotC’s butts? We’re going to tell you things you don’t want to hear. Then what, Kyle? What’cha gonna do, Kyle? What’cha gonna do when thousands of negative opinions come crashing down on you?

“More frequent and clear communications?” Did we forget that the OGL 1.1 was a leaked final document, NOT A DRAFT!? Hasbro/WotC almost got away with it, too. If it hadn’t been for those darn meddling fans- especially the content creators you were planning to screw. If you’re sorry, it’s probably because y’all got caught with your hands in the cookie jar, buddy.

Yes. Yes. You’re going to be clear from now on because you know all eyes are on you. If you try to get squirrely, it’ll probably get leaked anyway. This way WotC can spin doctor anything that happens. We’re already onto you.

Yeah, WotC will “listen” to the fans. And then turn right around and do whatever they were going to do before. Those surveys are pretty much intended to pacify us with the notion that our opinion matters. The only opinions they’re going to listen to are the ones saying, “You guys are doing great. Yay WotC. Yay D&D. We’ll sign whatever.”

I hate to tell WotC this, but a LOT of us aren’t going to go for anything short of leaving the OGL 1.0A alone. There are going to be innumerable dissenting opinions no matter what WotC does. The whole #TTRPGCommunity isn’t going to roll over and agree with you just because you apologized and say you’re going to listen, Mr Brink.

Let’s move on, shall we?

It’s another Friday info dump coming up. These little tidbits we get on Fridays aren’t all that frequent or clear by way of communications. You guys go out and play golf while half the industry burns. Monday, you come into a bigger mess. Wednesday you issue this weaksauce apology.

What’s next? A live video? Oops. Looks like that was cancelled. You’re absolutely terrified of what we’re really going to say. Right, WotC?

As far as surveys go, I think it’s a really poor attempt to pacify the masses. They want us, the #ttrpgcommunity to honestly believe our opinions matter. See, public relations people do this sort of thing when there are angry keyboard warriors gunning for them. Now you theoretically have a say, a vote, or an outlet for your opinion. The reality of it is not as rosy.

Sadly, WotC already knows what they’re planning to do. Those surveys will not matter by my reckoning. WotC execs don’t care. Our opinions? 40,000+ canceled subscriptions to D&D Beyond. #StoptheSub and #DnDBeGone are the opinion they care about.

To further prove my point about surveys, this was posted by @DnD_Shorts and verified by sources from @itsginnydi and @nerdimmersion on Twitter yesterday.

My next point is the past tense used in regards to OGL 1.0A content.

I pointed out on Twitter that Mr Brink is being very vague and somewhat evasive about sales of OGL products going forward. This letter also skirted around the potential deauthorization of the OGL 1.0a. All we really know is all of the stuff previously published is safe and that WotC’s army of lawyers won’t come after any of the older stuff. But what about new product?

Am I still going to be able to publish 3.5 or 5E content going forward? Our ability to make dice, minis, etc is uncompromised. Okay, we knew that. But it didn’t mention pdf files or printed material. According to the statement, the ownership of our own content in unaffected. Good. Good, but still no mention of things printed next year or the week after the OGL 2.0 goes up.

I wasn’t worried about the VTTs and YouTube to be totally honest. Most D&D YouTubers are likely already in WotC’s back pocket OR completely enraged at WotC over the whole OGL thing. Old School Renaissance YouTubers straight up don’t care anyway if I had to guess.

The bit about the DMsGuild could be written off as a footnote, really. However…

So, here’s a winner of a transparency issue- What is the plan going forward for the DMsGuild, exactly. If the OGL undergoes a dramatic change, isn’t the DMsGuild going to be dramatically affected, too? I think there’s more going on behind the scenes at DMsGuild than we’re being told. But, that’s another article.

The comment itself about the DMsGuild sounded overconfident to me. It’s like, “We already own them, so who cares?” The DMsGuild Community Content Agreement is a slightly different animal and WotC is already in for a cut of the profits. As greedy as WotC seems to be these days, why aren’t they trying for a bigger cut of the DMsGuild profits? Hmm.

Royalties.

This was probably the most offensive part of all of the things in OGL 1.1. WotC was asking for a very large chunk of money from anyone making money off of D&D. The agreement took the biggest chunk of money out of anyone making $750,000 or more per project. Paizo, Kobold Press, Troll Lord Games, Goodman Games, and several other renowned ttrpg companies would have been devastated. The whole move was originally designed to target those companies specifically.

Personally, I found the revenue reporting requirement of OGL 1.1 to be too invasive. The rule that was being proposed was anyone making over $50K per year on D&D products would have to declare it through WotC. I really didn’t care for that plan and I’m happy if they never go through with it.

I noticed things were left out.

There was no mention of a signatory clause, meaning we might still have to sign off on the new OGL for it to be valid.

Just because we’re not reporting income doesn’t mean we don’t have to declare our project to WotC for approval.

They never truly addressed pdfs and print products specifically going forward. Glad those dice are safe, though. Whew.

We will retain our old content with no license back agreement- I can only see where that applies to the OGL 1.0a. There’s nothing to indicate what that looks like going forward.

This statement was also pretty vague regarding DMsGuild content. They could still change the Community Content Agreement. Maybe that’s where the money is going to get funneled. I’m still not convinced WotC won’t try to create a major profit funnel somewhere in this whole OGL process.

There isn’t any language indicating that the OGL 1.0a won’t ever be deauthorized or made irrevocable. All that was indicated was that the stuff already in print under OGL 1.0a would be safe. At least they chose not to open that can of worms. However, it’s still no indication of the terms in the new license. The last one was 9,000 words. They can slide a lot of shenanigans into that kind of legal document.

The bottom line is:

For Hasbro: More money. More players. AI DMs. Big subscription money. Heck, we don’t even know if WotC is going to print physical books at this point.

For WotC: Serve their Reptilian Hasbro Overlords, make tons of money, and try not to get caught and called out by thousands of fans because they lied. Try to salvage as much digital sales as possible. Promote the lifestyle brand as possible. If all that has been said is true, we the fans are still just an obstacle between Hasbro and our money.

For Fans/Players/DMs/Writers: We just want OGL 1.0a left alone. No big, shiny, new, slimy OGL that’s going to totally wreck our way of doing things in the TTRPG industry. Enough harm has already been done all around.

We want to be able to trust WotC again. I’m not saying whether or not it’s going to happen. Especially if things continue to trend the way it looks like they’re going to. WotC can’t apologize enough for some of us.

Yes, we all want inclusive play as much as anyone at WotC. If NuTSR (Justin LaNasa and Dave Johnson) hadn’t attempted to squat on the Star Frontiers IP with their racist, hateful nonsense, that might not have even come up. #Hadozee was just as big of an embarrassment for WotC. It’s kind of a non-issue in some regards.

Final thoughts on this one.

This whole apology from Kyle Brink, D&D Executive, is very simply public relations trying to salvage some kind of relationship with the thousands of people who cancelled D&D Beyond and get that precious revenue coming in again. This was all to address OGL concerns.

While the OGL is important, I think them threatening big changes was more than enough to damage the #ttrpgindustry. They still aren’t showing a heap of empathy toward anyone they hurt. I’d still love to see a list of their “core goals.”

Damn right the last couple of weeks have been hard on everyone, especially the fans. I know so many people have poured their artistic souls into the D&D game. I know I have. I don’t know if I can ever trust WotC again. They’re going to have to grovel for a very long time before I’m convinced they’re not a malevolent corporate entity. (*We all know how much I absolutely hate corporations at this point.)

It’s not over. WotC still has a lot going on past OGL issues. One D&D or #DnDONE as I call it, is still being developed. Or rather it has been developed and the surveys are just to affirm that they’re right about everything. As long as we tell WotC exactly what they want to hear, all is well. Dissenting opinions are a different animal entirely for WotC as they have shown.

I also suspect Hasbro/WotC are far from done trying to own the entire TTRPG industry or shut down anyone who doesn’t join. There are far more evil schemes than just tinkering with the OGL. There are a lot of NDAs, side deals, and corporate scheming that we haven’t really seen yet. Just wait. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

Thanks for being here as always. Keep fighting the good fight. Be kind to one another including WotC employees. They can’t help that they have to be involved in this for the sake of feeding their families.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBeGone
#StoptheSub
#DnDONE

Wizards of the Coast- FAIL!

They’re slapping the fans in the face again. The plan for the digital platform was leaked. $30 subscription fee? Death of the OGL. Banned homebrew at any tier?! Oh, and I was right about the AI Dungeon Master?!? Fer cryin out loud.

You think they’d learn.

They’re slapping the fans in the face again. The plan for the digital platform was leaked. $30 subscription fee? Death of the OGL. Banned homebrew at any tier?! Oh, and I was right about the AI Dungeon Master?!? Fer cryin out loud.

I know Hasbro/WotC see the fans/players/DMs as “obstacles to their money,” but this is NOT the way to go about it. Maybe if it was an action figure line aimed at nine year olds, sure. That’s how GI Joe and Transformers worked. But D&D? That’s absurd.

Confirmed by multiple sources on Twitter, etc.

It’s pretty damned obvious they don’t know what they’re doing.

Dear WotC/Hasbro:

Have you clowny bastards ever met a Dungeons & Dragons player? Ever actually seen the game? Do you know what the Dungeon Master does? Do you have any clue whatsoever what the Role Playing Game market looks like? Are you really this unbelievably fcking stupid?
Signed,
Angry Fans Everywhere.

Screw their subscription fee. I wouldn’t pay it if I had the money. It’s the rest of the bullsht that royally pisses me off.

I get that Monopoly is a Hasbro thing. Trying to Monopolize the entire RPG industry is complete lunacy. Hasbro might own some of its biggest competition with Renegade Games. But that model of Vampire/World of Darkness being the number two game in the industry is very 1995. Y’all missed the boat.

Trying to destroy the Open Game License 1.0A is just stupid at best. All WotC is doing is creating more and more competition. The game of D&D sparked a cottage industry. Hate to tell your bosses at Hasbro, but WotC is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the RPG scene. How about WotC goes back to peddling Magic: the Gathering cards? Maybe leave the RPG market to people who actually care about it? Just a thought.

No homebrew? WTAF is wrong with WotC?

The game is going on 50 years old and apparently the company who currently makes D&D has no clue what homebrew content is? Or how it works? Or they’ve been living in high-as-Hell McCorporate boardroom land way too long and have no actual clue how being a DM actually works.

Hate to tell you this, WotC, but fans built the game on homebrew. That red boxed set we all used to have? That was a toolkit and nothing more. The Player’s Handbook that you may have heard of? Toolkit. Dungeon Master’s guide? Toolkit. Monster Manual? Parts store.

See, the original creators of D&D never intended for the books to be all encompassing. AI DMs will NEVER be as good or as creative as live human beings. D&D is NOT a video game. It never was. WotC is stupid if they think we’re not going to continue to create our own worlds, adventures, sourcebooks, maps, and monsters. That’s what the game was built on!

I was right about the AI DM thing since before the OGL debacle broke.

I knew it was coming. The stuffed suits at WotC are more than predictable. Want more “players?” Eliminate DMs. (Because that’s where the money is made currently. DM shortage got ya down? AI is here to fix everything. Ffs. My conspiracy-laden article is here:

So WotC/Hasbro’s evil scheme is to totally monopolize the TTRPG market by destroying the OGL and eliminating those pesky Dungeon Masters. No more homebrew, no more problems. Right?

Nope. Not even close. Okay, we know Hasbro wants to treat D&D like a video game. And it might even transition for some of the kids that came in under the Critical Role banner. Good for them? I guess.

But the rest of us aren’t fooled so easily. I occasionally play a game of Fortnite. It’s not a TableTop Role Playing Game. It’s not even close. Unfortunately, Hasbro’s vision of the future is awful for many of us. It looks literally like Fortnite. We keep trying to tell WotC and Hasbro and they just. Don’t. Get. It.

The future of One D&D was supposed to be in the hands of the fans at one point.

I hate to say this, because normally I’m a huge fan of player input in game design. I’ve crafted tons of in-game ttrpg items by consulting my players and finding out what they want. The One D&D playtest even sorta started out seeking honest input, I guess. Maybe? But if WotC isn’t going to listen, they don’t deserve any input. #DnDONE.

But Hasbro and WotC have shown their very shtty true colors once again. It’s bloody obvious they do not care what the fans think about anything. They’ve had this plan to railroad One D&D down everyone’s throats from the beginning. The surveys are just a distraction tactic.

It may come down to WotC pitifully selling our Player’s Handbook via microtransactions on the new D&D Beyond site. (Whatever they’re calling it.) Looks like World of Warcraft to me. AI storytelling, outrageous subscription fee, microtransaction add-ons such as mounts and in-game cosmetic items. Looks like Fortnite, too. That’s not D&D. It never was.

Here’s what I see happening if Hasbro very ignorantly ignores all of the people trying to save the game. Screw WotC. We want D&D.

See, we technically have more than five prior editions of the game. Hasbro can’t run out and burn everyone’s old stuff. D&D is going to keep going as a game no matter what. We can do it without a new edition or the “One” edition or whatever. We’re going to still be playing older editions of D&D because it’s a game we enjoy. We don’t need shiny new phone apps to play a TABLETOP GAME!

Sure, make it so you think we can’t sell homebrew.

In case you’re oblivious, Hasbro, half of the #TTRPGIndustry has already started a rebellion. Congratulations, you just created more competition for WotC by monkeying around with the OGL. Not to mention the amount of damage done by talk of changes to the OGL.

Oh, that never crossed the minds of Mr Cocks and Ms Williams, I bet. OGL dependant projects cancelled. RPG company staff laid off. Freelance artists not commissioned. WotC actually hurt the industry they helped build up. And thousands upon thousands of angry fans cancelling subscriptions already. #DnDBeGone really chafes. Right, Hasbro.

So, maybe we don’t sell D&D 5E supplements and adventures going forward. Hello. Have you met a lot of DMs and writers for OGL products? They’re going to keep making cool stuff and probably even sell it right under your noses, WotC. Hasbro/WotC doesn’t have enough lawyers on Earth to track down every distinctive likeness and every copyright violation. Alternative products and alternative names are already well in the works.

#ORCLicense. It’s going to be a thing. Best get used to not being the only game in town, WotC. Paizo had your number when 4th Ed flopped, and they have it again now. Get used to being number two or three. Kudos to Kobold Press and others for doing the right thing.

Final thoughts.

Someone on YouTube mentioned it. Bloggers like me are NEVER going to let Hasbro/WotC live any of this down. We’re a vocal and unforgiving lot. D&D YouTubers and bloggers have a very, very good memories when it comes to things like the OGL, corporate shenanigans, and outright disrespect.

WotC, we tried to fix all your little screwups with 5E and you didn’t listen.
WotC, we the fans tried to save you the pain of the OGL debacle, and you didn’t listen.
WotC/Hasbro, we began #StopTheSub and #DnDBeGone to the tune of 40,000+ cancelled subscriptions last I checked, and you still won’t listen.
Heck, a lot of well-meaning fans like me are actually trying to help save the game of D&D and you’re not listening.
Hasbro, we tell you the demands on WotC, the price points, and the OGL are stupidly unreasonable. You don’t listen.
WotC/Hasbro- you issue ignorant statements. We, the fans get leaks of even more ignorant statements and get a huge, fiery reaction that you still won’t hear.

We, the fans, are passionate about TTRPGs and D&D specifically. WotC is never going to corner the market on creativity. They’re never going to corner the market on fun, shared, storytelling experiences with dice. When are the stuffy old suits at Hasbro/WotC going to figure it out?

Some big, stupid manupid new Unreal Engine digital platform that’s overpriced and riddled with microtransactions is just going to drive the TTRPG Community further from your reach, WotC. Hasbro and WotC are going to continue to bleed money until they figure out they can’t just tell the fans what to do and vacuum money from our pockets. Especially while they’re working hard on the other end to ruin several people’s livelihoods. When are they going to get a clue?

That’s all I’ve got for now, family. I love my #ttrpgfamily. I eat, sleep, drink, and breathe RPGs from the moment I get up in the morning when I’m not dealing with my kids. I love nothing more than to see good, kind hearted independent creators doing what they love. Please, let’s all keep it rolling.

Dear Wizards of the Coast (Part 4)…

Look, I got no love for corporations. I was fired from a Fortune 500 company over a year and a half ago. Big, nasty, unfeeling, uncaring corporations can burn in a hole for all I really care. BUT- I never begrudge anyone the right to earn a living no matter who they work for!

Some visuals to help jar your memory, WotC.

You see these books? Each and every one of them published by an independent third party publisher. Each one of them has artists, writers, layout designers, editors and printers that worked hard to make someone’s dream come to fruition. Please- @Hasbro, Please- @Wizards_DnD Stop and consider carefully what you want to do with the Open Game License 1.0 before you release 1.1.

Kobold, Frog God, Necromancer Games, Dren Publications and various DMsGuild authors.

#OpenDnD isn’t just some cute hashtag we came up with for social media. It’s an attempt to keep people’s’ jobs, PLEASE. If you (WotC) eliminate OGL 1.0 hundreds of people will lose their livelihood! Do you care at all???

Large and small publishers alike owe their livelihood to OGL 1.0A.

Say what you would like about some of the companies depicted here, but their hard working, creatively talented minds build all of this from D&D. In most cases for 5E. You know, that game you (WotC) are replacing with this abomination that is rapidly becoming One D&D. Yeah…

I understand you’re a big, weasely, slimy corporation under an even bigger, slimier corporation, Hasbro. But did you ever consider that even though they’re competition, these businesses you’re wanting to squash actually employ people?!?

Look, I got no love for corporations. I was fired from a Fortune 500 company over a year and a half ago. Big, nasty, unfeeling, uncaring corporations can burn in a hole for all I really care. BUT- I never begrudge anyone the right to earn a living no matter who they work for! Always take care of your family.

Fateforge, the three blue hardcovers and the big box in the photo were created by Studio Agate. They’re a French company. Powered by the OGL 1.0A license. Do you know how much work they put into Fateforge? AND- Jim Searcy of Studio Agate is a big supporter of other RPG and miniatures wargames on Kickstarter. Do you (WotC) really think these people are going to want to sign your unreasonable OGL 1.1 agreement?!?

Here’s another example of a company the OGL 1.1 is going to royally screw over:

Pathfinder Second Edition by Paizo, Inc

I get that the shortsighted goofballs at WotC/Hasbro don’t remember they’re the company ultimately responsible for the creation of Pathfinder. Paizo grew out of OGL 1.0. They give Dungeons & Dragons a run for its money every day. They’re not perfect, but they’re an amazing game company that employs a lot of people in the RPG industry. Do you, WotC/Hasbro, really want to put this many people out of a job with your McCorporate greed?

Are you going to hire anyone after they lose their jobs because of this OGL 1.1 bullsht? Has any of the massive outcry from the #RPGCommunity on social media reached your high tower of McCorporate stupidity??? Do you realize that WotC is going to be “under monetized” as all Hell because the OGL 1.1 can literally DESTROY the ENTIRE RPG INDUSTRY by cancelling the OGL 1.0A?

A bunch of former D&D players are going to be out of jobs. Word will spread like wildfire of all of the layoffs and unemployment caused when entire game companies shut down because of the very toxic chain reaction caused by OGL 1.1.

These aren’t just pretty words on a screen or a piece of paper. These are people’s lives we’re talking about. These aren’t just individuals- there are entire families affected by this OGL 1.1 document! How do you sit in your corner office at WotC HQ and not realize this stuff?

People are already upset, and OGL 1.1 isn’t live yet.

Troll Lord Games is just one company in a near-blind panic over OGL 1.1.

Companies all over the #TTRPG Industry are already bailing on 5E.

Congratulations, WotC. You win. Companies are dumping 5E products at a discount just to get rid of them. They know that if OGL 1.1 invalidates the prior OGL that their product will be worth less than the paper it’s printed on.

Even if OGL 1.1 doesn’t go live, which is looking doubtful right now, WotC has lost a lot of the D&D fan base and countless sales because of the ill will in the industry. Did you (WotC) stop and consider the absolute PR nightmare this thing was going to cause. Are you (WotC) that oblivious?

You could probably set me up with free D&D books for life and I’d tell you where you can stuff em at this point, WotC. Throw in free movie tickets? That’ll be a good laugh when I stay home. I dare say nothing you (WotC) could possibly do will silence me from continuing to shove this issue in your cute little corporate faces until things are fixed. #OpenDnD .

Someone convinced OneBookShelf to take this down from DriveThruRPG.com

The Fck WotC Bundle from Frog God Games was an interesting and somewhat funny take on the whole situation. I wonder how well it sold. I find it interesting that anyone in their right mind is still buying OGL product for 5E or any other aspect of the D20 game.

At this point, I dunno if I’ll ever buy anything made by HASBRO ever again. I’m even looking at Renegade Studios games sideways. That’s a damn shame because I loved Power Rangers RPG. I came into 2023 wanting to create (free) adventures for Transformers and GI Joe here on my site. WotC ruined that good will. I’ll actively encourage people to boycott WotC, Renegade, and all Hasbro products if OGL 1.1 comes to fruition. Think about all that revenue the bad word of mouth advertising is going to cost Hasbro.

I was writing free content for an OGL 1.0A game, Dungeon Crawl Classics. Yet another company: Goodman Games, that will probably fold under the weight of OGL 1.1. I can’t stress enough how this legal maneuvering and ill will from WotC is destroying the community of people I care about. People who work hard to create lots of fun games. Remember fun?

Please take note of the highlighted passage.

Frog God/Necromancer Games are serious about this. It’s gonna get ugly real fast in the TTRPG Industry if the OGL 1.1 ever goes live. Stuff’s already getting real, not just with this company, but many of the larger companies around the industry. WotC might not have to worry about OGL 1.0 properties any more, but all new game with its own truly Open License might be coming. Let that sink in, WotC. You’ve (WotC) already made things worse for yourselves.

This isn’t even me in truly rebellious mode.

You don’t want to meet that guy. I’m just getting warmed up. WotC needs to get their collective McCorporate heads out of their fuzzy little butts and squash the OGL 1.1. Every day they delay action or faff about trying to smooth ruffled feathers in the community without doing anything is another day more companies jump ship from D&D and WotC in general. I wonder how bad Hasbro is going to freak out if this D&D ill will spills over into Magic: the Gathering sales.

This is a good place to leave the discussion for now. I’ll be back tomorrow, of course. #OpenDnD isn’t going away. The fans aren’t going to just let this go. WotC is literally destroying and industry they helped build and started a war with a big chunk of D&D fandom. It ain’t over yet.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Lots more to discuss on this topic, if you can believe that. I appreciate everyone who stops by. Please, tell friends.

Dear Wizards of the Coast (Part 3)…

Does anyone at Wizards of the Court/Lawyers of the Coast remember the last time so much ill will was shown toward the fans. 4th Edition? Fans and writers being taken to court right and left for Intellectual Property disputes? No, no one at WotC nowadays seems to have any clue. That’s how we got here with OGL 1.1.

I grew up playing D&D, reading Marvel comics, and watching professional wrestling.

Would you like to know how I’d really like to end this dispute? Steel cage match between myself and Chris, the Punchline Writes Itself, Cocks! To quote the late, great Macho Man Randy Savage, “We’re doing this right now. Somebody ring the bell!”

Alas, my kung fu skills and pro wrestling moves will not be put to the test this day. I wasn’t kidding about Chris Cocks. His Hasbro bio is linked here if you don’t believe me. We’re all trying so hard to restrain ourselves from the obvious dck jokes and other juvenile puns around this man’s last name. Glad he’ll never read this.

If 2022 has taught me anything, it’s the power of Grognard.

Back to the wrestling analogy- “Cocks! I’m gonna be doin this until I’m a hundred and two years old. I ain’t goin anywhere. They’ll have to pry my dice from my cold, wrinkled, old hands. Roll for Initiative!”

Oh, oh crap. Is “initiative” a trademarked term? Is it cool under the System Resource Document? Is WotC’s hit ninja lawyer squad going to charge the ring? <gasp> Oh noes. I might have violated OGL 1.1 in all of its assanine glory and gotten myself thoroughly cancelled. Only I ain’t signed nothin, brother.

See, I’ve been a roleplaying gamer since about 1982. You can take away OGL 1.0. Sure. Great. Whatever. You can enstate some sort of long-winded legal bullsht. That’s fine. I’ll still find an RPG out there to play and enjoy. It just won’t be D&D. WotC can kiss my butt.

And, sorry to tell you this, Ms Williams and Mr Cocks, but there are thousands of guys just like me out there who will be shouting down your One D&D brand as well. Much of the ttrpg industry WotC is trying to control or squash was propped up on the OGL. Your lifestyle mega brand plans for One D&D are probably going to be pretty weak at the rate you’re going. May as well call it, “D&DOne.”

Someone may have misled you to the delusion that all the D&D fans are somehow the young crowd that the antics of Critical Role brought into the game.

Only problem is, the game of D&D, (the thing the crafters of Open Game License 1.1 seem to have forgotten,) is much older than 5E. I was running D&D when Matt Mercer was still a twinkle in his mommy and daddy’s eyes. Y’all at WotC better figure out real quick that yes, there ARE other editions of the D&D game. Cripes, WotC even sells them over on the OneBookShelf sites. Ya ought to know by now. You should know better by now.

Wizards of the bloody Coast wasn’t even a company when some of of started running D&D games. Yeah, Adkinson got some clout with Magic: the Gathering back when and acquired T$R when it was most vulnerable. I promise you. No matter how much the erroneous fools at WotC think they understand D&D in terms of demographics? They don’t know enough. They don’t know the TTRPG industry.

If D&D goes the way of OGL 1.1? Does WotC have any clue what’s going to happen next? Entire game companies have already stated they have new, non-WotC OGL games in the works. One D&D is going to have so much competition on the market that WotC better pray they sell a lot of D&D t-shirts, because their D&D game is going to be in the dumpster fire faster than 4th Edition.

You want more player money because D&D is “under monetized.”

Yes, we want D&D to make money. 5E was due for an edition change. Okay. We, the fans, understand that WotC employees are people with families to feed, too.

But for God’s sakes, why did WotC have to be so awfully ruthless with OGL 1.1? Did they really foresee wiping out half the industry and putting dozens of independent writers out of business with it? Was that the evil plan all along?

Does anyone at Wizards of the Court/Lawyers of the Coast remember the last time so much ill will was shown toward the fans. 4th Edition? Fans and writers being taken to court right and left for Intellectual Property disputes? No, no one at WotC nowadays seems to have any clue. That’s how we got here with OGL 1.1.

I dare say WotC is going to have to do a LOT of fence mending and spin doctoring to get fan trust or even loyalty back. Even then, a lot of us old guys, the ones who regularly talk about the Old School Renaissance movement, are never going to trust WotC again. (In fairness, they might not have before.) What’cha gonna do, WotC? What’cha gonna do when the OSR runs wild on you?

A regular network of OSR gamers has sprouted up around the OGL 1.0. Yes, many of them have blogs and YouTube channels. One such channel even seems to think they don’t need an OGL and are telling people to keep rolling without it. I wish them well in the future. BUT, the OSR is a strong TTRPG subculture and a force to be reckoned with.

Say what you will about the #OSR movement, they do have some things going in their favor.

WotC should really have done some research before they OGL 1.1 was written. The OSR movement has built some really great D&D style retro clone games. The best part is- many of their games are free downloads or really cheap in print form. OGL 1.0 is the reason the OSR was started in the first place. The OSR will still be distributing a game similar to D&D (without signing any agreement) for FREE for decades to come.

Would WotC like to know the difference between 5E and the OSR? I bet they would know if they ever played the game before 5E. See, a lot of OSR style retroclones are built on the old B/X Moldvay D&D. Oh, WotC doesn’t see editions? Well, wish you’d sure as hell seen that one. Because old school Basic/Expert D&D is far simpler, far easier to grasp, more adaptable, and easier to introduce new players to the game. Y’all kids don’t get it.

I can literally make a Basic style D&D character almost from memory with a few minor exceptions in less than 5 minutes and be ready to play. Try that with 5E. A basic style character takes fraction of the effort to make and can still be just as dramatic.

What’s that, WotC? One D&D characters are going to be all online? Like Fortnite that uses the same Unreal Engine? Hmm. It’s almost like WotC doesn’t understand the TABLETOP part of TTRPG. Wonder if dice are even still going to be part of the character creation process. What about character sheets? Or do we just buy skins like in Fortnite.

Shredding the industry by ruining the OGL and all of the good faith that came with it is just going to cost WotC a bunch of money.

Good luck with the witch hunt to find out who leaked OGL 1.1, btw. They did the industry a favor. They might have done it as a part of a cunning plan at WotC. I’m not sure what cheesing off thousands or even a million fans would do to make more money. Gawrsh, I sure hope Mr Cocks has been briefed on the plan.

Making a smart move look dumb is exactly the kind of thing an evil mastermind might do divert attention from true genius. Or whatever plan WotC had for OGL 1.1 was just plain stupid and evil to begin with. But maybe that’s what an evil genius would have us think? We’ll never know for sure.

WotC is digging a hole so deep with OGL 1.1 that they don’t even realize it yet. All of the tons of OGL 1.0 licensed product is never going away just because we can’t legally produce more. I’m not going to burn all of my dozens of third party 3E and 5E books just because we can’t sell new ones. The older editions of the game aren’t going away just because some new, shiny video game D&D gets released in 2024.

What’s the best that can happen, WotC?

WotC has yet to release an official statement as of yet. There was a Tweet from DnD Beyond that they would be making a statement… super helpful, guys. I’ll have much more to say about the statement by WotC and the OGL 1.1 document itself after I finish reading it and all of its legalese corporatized jargon. RPGs are sometimes like learning a new language. RPG legalese is like learning a dead language in reverse.

Thanks for stopping in. More to come. I can’t believe the last few days have really happened.

Dear Wizards of the Coast (Cont’d)…

I know y’all forgot all about Dragon.
… no one at WotC ever had to suffer through this as far as anyone can tell.
… not that anyone currently at WotC seems to remember this sht.
I don’t see anyone at WotC seemingly remembering what it was like to be a small fish in a big pond.
WotC puts out mediocre corporatized products and the fans/writers create homebrew fixes for all the errors.
The top of the McCorporate ladder at WotC seems especially detached these days.

Let us discuss the “Before Time.”

Back before Wizards of the Coast wrapped their fuzzy little claws around Dungeons & Dragons, there was this company called T$R. There was no Open Game License for Gary Gygax was not big on sharing his creation unless T$R would profit from it.

If someone (perhaps foolishly) wanted to work in the TableTop RolePlaying Game industry there were basically two options. First, get a job working for a game company. Second, create one’s own game. Obviously no one currently remaining at WotC seems to have any clue about how bad either of these options truly sucked because if you (WotC) did, there would likely not be an Open Game License 1.1.

The first option was the worst, in my experience. No one wanted to hire new talent fresh out of high school or college and there weren’t a lot of great ways to showcase one’s writing skills as there are now. It was pretty tough to even get in writing articles for Dragon Magazine. (I know y’all forgot all about Dragon.) Basically, if you weren’t already on staff, an editor would say something quippy like, “Come back when you have more experience writing for another industry publication, kid.”

Only to find out that the other industry publications wanted writing experience from Dragon Magazine, Dungeon Magazine or another reputable company like T$R. It was a very vicious cycle and very unproductive. Game company execs, especially at T$R, had a reputation for being aholes. They already had their nice, cushy ttrpg industry jobs and screw all the rest of us.

That led to option number two: Write, find art, and produce one’s own game, then figure out how and where to get it printed. Unless one wanted to spend a mint at the photocopier, one would have to scrounge up about $2-3,000 and get a print run. After that, one prayed for enough sales to pay for another print run. Again, no one at WotC ever had to suffer through this as far as anyone can tell.

One could still do plenty of stuff for free. There were no agreements to sign. One could distribute FREE materials at game conventions, some small indie magazines, and over the fledgling Usenet. There was no OGL and no way to get one’s name in print that it provided.

Ah, the dawn of the OGL.

This is where your, uh, greatnesses came in at WotC. D&D was acquired and Third Edition was born. This great idea called the OGL was likewise born out of 3rd Ed and there was much rejoicing among the fans. Again, not that anyone currently at WotC seems to remember this sht.

Many, many publications were born and new companies sprouted up everywhere. Most of them made D&D or D20 products using the OGL 1.0 that we all loved dearly. Those were the good old days. Writers were no longer automatically pigeonholed and could get their names out there in the industry. It was a veritable revolution. It was a win-win scenario to use one of those fancy shmancy business goob terms. Not that anyone at WotC seems to remember or wants to return to the Silver Age of TTRPG history.

Fast forward past the travesty that was 4th Ed D&D and the closed license onto 5E. The OGL 1.0A brought back the love. The DMsGuild.com was born to give fans and writers the chance to maybe earn a little credit and still get their names out there. Maybe the profits weren’t all that great, but enough to buy another book. Again, I don’t see anyone at WotC seemingly remembering what it was like to be a small fish in a big pond.

5E has been good times so far. WotC puts out mediocre corporatized products and the fans/writers create homebrew fixes for all the errors. Sometimes a little money is made on DMsGuild, other times stuff is given away for free. WotC didn’t used to care because it got their product out the door and kept all the fans happy. What changed? Was it greed?

Then we come to Kickstarters and Patreon, where the real money is seemingly made from OGL 1.0A these days. 5E ushered in a whole new batch of companies who greatly benefit from the D&D brand. Maybe it has gotten excessive. Maybe WotC has a right to be jealous of an industry they helped build up. But, don’t we all grow together? Isn’t there room for everyone at the table.

It’s about family.

I understand WotC is like every other big, slimy McCorporation out there these days. You have hundreds of people that are underpaid and underappreciated on staff. WotC and Hasbro have their big, doofy, “important” meetings where middle management gets to lord their feeble power over the underlings. These people all have families to feed, too. I guess. The top of the McCorporate ladder at WotC seems especially detached these days. They seem more than happy to spend (waste) a bunch of time and money defending Intellectual Property that is going to rapidly fade away into obscurity with the way things are going.

But, the crass changes and insensitive, unfeeling, cold, ruthless business tactics projected by the OGL 1.1 is going to return D&D to the ttrpg industry stone ages. Tough luck for new and aspiring game designers, I know. See, all those independent writers on DMsGuild and all the new or old companies who sprouted up around the OGL are probably going to go away, or go bankrupt when WotC crushes them beneath their McCorporate hee.. Think of all the unemployed, bitterly angry people WotC clearly doesn’t care about. That’s a good look for the D&D brand, isn’t it?

I applied for creative positions at WotC. I noticed I didn’t get hired. Not even a flush letter. Jerks. Grr. Maybe it’s for the best. I’d probably make some of your management cry.

If we’re really back to the dark ages before the OGL, I might consider finding a new hobby. Seriously. We had some big egoes out there before OGL 1.1. It’s only going to get worse. Again, is this really the brand image an “under monetized” D&D wants? Good luck getting more player money on hats and movie sales if hundreds of jobs are lost because of OGL 1.1. Jerks.

Stay tuned next time when I talk about what this does to the TTRPG community. Specifically, we’ll talk about Pathfinder and the OSR movement. You’re not doing anyone any favors, WotC. Take a hint.

Thanks to all of my regular readers for making this especially vitriolic rant possible. At least it feels good to get this sht off my chest. You guys are the best.

Dear Wizards of the Coast…

Not that you care. Not that anyone @Wizards_DnD reads this or anything else the fans are trying desperately to tell you. Out of curiosity, do you think Hasbro is going to be okay with their stock prices plummeting steadily until 2024 when you bring the abomination that is One D&D out to a hostile fan crowd? Your “lifestyle brand” won’t mean sht if the game itself dies.

A letter almost as “Open” as the Open Game License 1.1.

Dear Wizards,

First off, let me just beg you, please don’t sue me. Thank you. Not appearing in court any time soon is high on my bucket list.

Second, let’s chat a bit about this tragedy called OGL 1.1. See, you might not realize the gravity of what you’re doing to fans, players, and content creators. Oh, not to mention you’re offending the heck out of Dungeon Masters. Some of us depend on third party OGL content for livelihood. Others like that content as consumers.

When you don’t put out enough quality content in a given year to keep us all interested, we like to pick up third party OGL content. As a DM, I particularly enjoy monster supplements. The new OGL 1.1 will have provisions crafted into it that will simply cause a lot of third party creators to simply vanish. As much as you hate competition, you’ll also be killing the game of Dungeons & Dragons. Not to mention causing even more unemployment.

See, I know it’ll sound crazy, but some of the third party content creators are big enough to employ one or more artists, editors, and additional designers. I understand corporate giants like Hasbro do this, but smaller companies don’t tie their employees up in endless meetings that only result in a more mediocre product. The OGL forces licensees out of business because they can’t afford the royalties you’re asking or just plain wipe them out using completely unreasonable legal terms or conditions. Hence more unemployment.

Not that you care. Not that anyone @Wizards_DnD reads this or anything else the fans are trying desperately to tell you. Out of curiosity, do you think Hasbro is going to be okay with their stock prices plummeting steadily until 2024 when you bring the abomination that is One D&D out to a hostile fan crowd? Your “lifestyle brand” won’t mean sht if the game itself dies.

But the fans love Wizards of the Coast, right?

After the shenanigans with the OGL? No. NO, the fans do not love you. You’ve single handedly managed to unite separate parts of the D&D fan base into one giant mob with pitchforks and torches. See, some of us have family and friends who are content creators and you’re royally screwing them over. Needless to say we think the terms and conditions in the OGL 1.1 are ridiculous and unacceptable.

You say you’re “under monetized.” You want more money from players. Did you stop to consider what the DMs think of this plan? Clearly no.

See, we don’t just spend time fixing all the mechanical errors and filling massive gaps left by your overpaid staff designers. Some DMs like to collect third party content. Some DMs like to produce third party content because the pittance we make covers the new content we consume. Don’t tell me you hate that plan, too?

Right now, the message we fans are getting is pretty clear. You are asking us, players, DMs, and content creators, to basically hand you free material to publish. I understand you want to squash the competition like Microsoft or Hasbro would, but it’s clear you have no actual clue what you’re doing in the TableTop RPG industry.

I’m just getting started. I’m mad. I’m not going away. I won’t be silenced.

More on this topic tomorrow. Thanks for reading all you non-WotC family. I find this topic of the OGL quite upsetting.

Wizards of the Coast Wants More Money.

Apparently, the nice people that run the corporate end of Dungeons & Dragons see all of us as walking dollar signs. $$$ Allow me to speculate on what might be coming in 2024.

A December 9th articles says Dungeons & Dragons, “…is really under-monetized.

This is the link to the article on Comicbook.com. You can find similar coverage elsewhere. I’m not going to rehash the entire article here, but I want to comment on one thing I think a lot of RolePlaying Game pundits are missing. (*Spoiler Alert: I am NOT going to say “Oh, just play Old School Renaissance.”)
Here’s the link to the article:
https://comicbook.com/gaming/news/wizards-of-the-coast-presidents-believes-dungeons-dragons-is-really-under-monetized/?s=09

WotC wants/needs to make more money for parent company, Hasbro.

This may come as a shock to some, but WotC is Hasbro’s property. Dungeons & Dragons, as much as we all truly love it, is no different to Hasbro than Hungry Hungry Hippos or Acquire. They won’t give a second thought about dropping it like a hot rock if it stops making the kind of money they want to see coming in. That’s the underlying foundation of what this meeting with Hasbro and the article is really about. This was WotC basically trying to wow the Hasbro stockholders.

The recent dip in Hasbro stock prices was largely pinned on Magic: the Gathering and D&D sales declines. If I had stock in Hasbro, I would be nervous, too. Long time gamers have seen what we thought were perfectly healthy companies in the industry fall apart seemingly overnight. D&D isn’t being threatened with extinction yet.

If WotC doesn’t show that they can produce? D&D could be gone. Or WotC could be downsized. Or D&D could get handed off to Renegade Games, the other Hasbro RPG company. By the end of Fiscal Year 2024, D&D could look a lot different and I don’t just mean the edition changes.

The other thing I think we’re overlooking.

I understand what they’re doing with the four quadrant brand. They want us drinking from our Taco Bell promotional D&D cups, wearing the latest shirt with a beholder on it, while watching the new Forgotten Realms TV show before we hop online and play the RPG or whatever Baldur’s Gate MMO video game that just came out. It’s nothing new, really. Look at what they have done in the past with My Little Pony, for example.

It’s good that they want to make money. As much as I chastise them about their practices, I get that WotC employees have families to feed. I’d want to make my brand, my company’s game the hottest thing on the market too if I was getting paid by WotC.

But here’s the thing we’re overlooking: WotC is wanting to put all the money in their own pockets. They don’t want to hand money off to game distributors, game stores, third party Virtual TableTop licenses, websites such as DriveThruRPG, and Amazon. Odd for a game that is played mostly in person, but they’re looking to change that.

They have specifically said that Dungeon Masters are 20% of their profits. They aren’t worried about us DMs and the rabid fanbase that buys every book and boxed set without question. They want more “players” spending money on D&D products. They seem to be disregarding the DM: the person that puts the session together.

Look at what they don’t seem to be concerned with.

They’re not worried about basic things like, the game itself. I really got the impression they’re solely concerned with the brand. They want to blow D&D up into a fad. While we’re headed into see the newest D&D movie, let’s pick up our D&D scented toilet paper.

The game? There’s a roleplaying game? Ohh you must mean the video game. Or their VTT/video game that uses the Unreal Engine. Have you seen latest the Elf Sorceress skin in the shop? She’s cool, but her back bling is pretty mopey. (*That’s what microtransactions look like in Fortnite, btw.)

WotC seems less concerned about the actual RPG than they are about getting money flowing in from merchandise, video games, and movies. This also means they could give a rip less about what goes into the actual RPG. All avenues lead to their (subscription) website which will be D&D Beyond with a different name. I suspect the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual might be buried behind some sort of paywall and the print copies with seem novel because of the canon rules changes online. (*That’s just speculation, though.) They want players especially to be coming back for more.

What they’re not addressing speaks volumes.

The other thing WotC seems to be dodging the issue of the Open Game License. I realize they wouldn’t mention it to stockholders, but I think it’s becoming more and more obvious. They don’t intend to have an OGL for the next edition. The current (5E down to 3E) will still remain. One D&D will likely not if I have to guess.

I really get the impression that they’re aiming to have no one outside of WotC and their licensees to be making D&D content and selling it. They will literally control everything and all funnels flow straight to them. They want players spending money on officially licensed D&D products, not the DMs Guild or a third party site. Just my take, though. Nowhere in the discussion of quadrants did we hear anything about fan based products.

Basically, if you want to make D&D content, it’s going to be like the pre-OGL days of T$R. You can make new D&D content for free and distribute it privately. If you want to do things for older editions the OGL will still be valid and sellable, but it won’t be useful for the One D&D and all of its digital hoo-ha.

I’m not trying to dis WotC. I mean, yay D&D. Right? We still love the game. It’s what the folx at WotC are counting on. We’re all walking dollar signs to them.

One last thought before I go.

Has WotC stopped to consider the people that run their RPG? No, not the writers. Have they thought about Dungeon Masters? If we’re a solid game-buying crowd and they begin neglecting us in favor of other avenues of income? They think there’s a DM shortage now, just wait.

They also don’t seem to be concerned about game content, which is odd. They can only promote the equivalent of a Christmas ornament for so long before the fans realize the thing is hollow. If there’s no content and fewer DMs driving that content, what are they thinking is going to happen?

I guess if we thought the AI art craze was bad we’re really going to sht bricks when the AI DM craze takes off. Don’t think they’ll do it? They want more players spending money. D&D is becoming a virtual tabletop experience using the Unreal Engine. There’s already supposedly a DM shortage. I dunno. What if?

The AIs could be trawling the Internet looking for me.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. If I suddenly turn up missing, we’ll know my theory about AI DMs hit too close to home. (LOL!)

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